Winning. That’s all that it is about for the teams and if they win, there is little if any clamouring for running rugby for supporters.
That was proved again by Wales on Saturday when they clinched the Grand Slam by absolutely demolishing Ireland, the second-ranked team in the World 25-7 in Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Both sides scored only one try.
Wales had to win to ensure that they do the Grand Slam and also win the Six Nations Championship.
They did it with deadly, faultless rugby and carried the ball for only 47 metres in the first 30 minutes but kept the pressure on Ireland with a huge lead in the territory stakes.
Wales had a dream start toe the match when, following a few phase after a lineout, flyhalf Gareth Anscombe exploited the rush defence with a perfectly placed kick behind the defensive line for centre Hadleigh Parkes to score.
As in their present campaign and also in their good performances in the year-end tests, they stifled early Irish attacks and made the clash a one-sided one, especially on the scoreboard.
But this will matter little to the fanatic crowd in and the many supporters.
Nor would the fact that both sides scored one try, Wales70 seconds after the start and Ireland about the same few seconds into stoppage time
In the coaching world there can be little time for bitterness or gloating, but Wales coach Warren Gatland probably could be excused if he had a little wry smile remembering the day some 18 years ago when he was fired as Ireland’s coach.
He has now achieved what no coach before him could by being in charge of three Grand Slams. With it came his 14th successive victory with this team, and Wales have now reaffirmed themselves as serious World Cup contenders.
Ireland had to wait until after the playing time had elapsed before they scored after some good pressure to avoid the ignominy of going scoreless.
Wales (16) 27: Try: Hadleigh Parkes. Conversion: Gareth Anscombe. Penalties: Anscombe (6).Ireland (0) 7: Try: Jordan Larmour. Conversion: Jack Carty.